Chronicle for publishing the class of 2025 survey data: inside the methodology and the limits
This week, The Chronicle will release survey data for the Class of 2025.
For the fifth year in a row, we asked the freshman class about their lifestyle, demographics, plans at Duke and more. Questions ranged from high school test scores and religious beliefs to their approximate family income and use of campus resources.
Many of the questions were similar to those in last year’s survey. This year, given Duke’s announced shift to a residential housing model, opinions have been expressed regarding QuadEx and living learning communities. New questions regarding knowledge and use of campus resources and facilities have also been added.
Most questions about COVID-19, including whether household members lost their jobs or were laid off during the pandemic, have been removed. Opinions on COVID-19 policies and the perceived impact of the pandemic on finding a community were always assessed. Questions about the 2020 presidential election were also removed from the survey.
In total, this year’s survey consisted of 71 questions, compared to 67 questions last year.
The results of this survey will be published throughout the coming week in a series of stories and will provide a deeper look at Duke’s incoming undergraduates.
The survey was administered from October 11 to October 27, and 380 freshmen completed responses that were 99%-100% complete, with a total of 560 students beginning a response. A total of 23.9% of the freshman class completed the survey and three prizes were randomly awarded to participants.
Statistical science professor Jerry Reiter previously explained to The Chronicle the potential limitations of the survey. He said the reasons students withdrew from the survey, including lack of access to the survey or low enthusiasm for Duke, could make the results less representative of the class.
Reiter noted that in last year’s survey, which also asked more than 60 questions, students may not have chosen to complete the questionnaire due to time constraints. Reiter wrote in an email that this could cause non-respondents to be systematically different from respondents, which could skew survey results.
Below, we compare our survey data with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions’ official Class of 2025 profile. This shows how our survey responses can differ from the class as a whole.
Race and ethnicity
The Chronicle’s survey collected race and ethnicity data differently from Duke’s admissions office by including a “race/ethnicity not listed here” category and distinguishing between Native American or Alaska Native students and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students.
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Official diversity data records 57% white students; 30% Asian, Asian American or Pacific Islander students; 11% black or African-American students; 10% Hispanic/Latino/a/x students and 2% Native American, Native American, Alaska Native, or Hawaiian students. 6% of students did not state race.
Of the 380 students surveyed by The Chronicle, 39.8% identified as white, 29.2% as Asian, 7.1% as black or African American, 4.2% as Hispanic or Latinx/e and 1, 9% as race/ethnicity not listed. A student identified only as Native American or Alaska Native.
Students were allowed to select multiple identities, and 67 respondents (17.6%) selected two or more. When this “multiracial” category is disaggregated, 54.2% of respondents identified as white, 36.3% identified as Asian, 13.2% identified as Hispanic or Latinx/e, 10.8% identified as Black, 1.3% identified as Native American or Alaska Native, and 0.3% identified as Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. About 3% chose a race or ethnicity that was not listed. This largely matches official self-reported data on race and ethnicity.
About two-thirds of survey respondents who identified as Hispanic or Latinx/e selected at least one other identity. The majority of these respondents (76.5%) also identified as white, with some respondents saying they also identified as black, Asian, Native American or Alaska Native.
For consistency of analysis, aggregated data with a “multiracial” category was used in our stories. The Chronicle acknowledges that this practice eliminates a lot of nuance, but it allows us to compare our results with official data collected by Duke Admissions in previous years.
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christopher Guttentag confirmed in an email to The Chronicle last year that the University’s official racial diversity data does not include an “other” category. The ability for students to identify as more than one race/ethnicity in official diversity data was recently implemented for the class of 2025.
Geographical and socio-economic diversity
The New York Times published data on Duke’s socioeconomic diversity based on tax records in 2016. While there are differences between The Chronicle and Times analyzes in the measures used to report the data, our survey data is generally consistent with data from The Times. Data from The Times shows that the median family income of Duke students is $186,700, and more than 50% of students surveyed estimated their household had an annual family income of $125,000 to $500,000, while 16 .1% of students reported an income of $80,000 or less. Just under 15% of respondents reported an annual income above $500,000.
The Chronicle’s survey data underrepresents students who receive financial aid. According to data from Duke, 50% of the Class of 2025 receive financial aid, compared to 44.4% of our respondents.
Additionally, 10.5% of our respondents, compared to 14% of the Class of 2025, are international students, indicating that our survey underrepresents the percentage of international students and overrepresents the proportion of domestic students.
The Chronicle survey data slightly overrepresents the number of students who attended a public high school and the number who attended a private high school. However, the data is not fully comparable since official data further delineates students who were educated outside of the United States, which The Chronicle’s survey does not.
Our survey overrepresents the number of students who applied to Early Decision. While just under 53% of the Class of 2025 accepted the early ruling, 60% of our respondents did.
The Chronicle survey also overrepresents the number of FOCUS students. 30.5% of our respondents are FOCUS participants, while approximately 20-25% of first-years participate in the program each year, according to the FOCUS website.
The median SAT and ACT scores of survey respondents were 1530 and 35, respectively. Official data places the middle 50% range for SAT and ACT scores at 1510 to 1560 and 34 to 36, respectively.
Other identity groups
While 55% of the Class of 2025 identify as female and 45% as male, 63% of our respondents identified as female and 33.5% as male. Just under 3% of students identified as transgender, gender queer/non-binary, agender, or “other.” Less than 1% of students chose “prefer not to say”.
Although the Chronicle includes more options for gender identity than Duke’s data, the discrepancy indicates that our data overrepresents the number of students identifying as female and underrepresents the number of students who identify as female. identifying as men.
Our survey data slightly underrepresents the number of first-generation college students. While 11% of all freshmen are first-generation students, 9.5% of our respondents are.
| Chief Editor
Nadia Bey is junior editor and Trinity director of the 117th volume of The Chronicle.
Ishani Raha is a freshman Pratt and a news service reporter.